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Africa is the final frontier

Adam Blackman

Some would consider the title of this article to be somewhat pretentious or at best, audacious. Who can blame them? After all, Africa has been the perennial global under-performer for as long as ever. However, in every challenge or crisis, there is an opportunity.

At a point in time, Carlos Slim Helu, a South American billionaire, was the richest man in the World. He knocked good old Bill Gates off that vaunted pedestel. His ascension to the "blessed place" caused a furor in the world of business and finance and the interviews and discussions about the man poured forth. At the time, I read some of these interviews and I was struck by some of Mr. Slim's views. He was in favour of doing business in parts of the world that have challenging issues. In his opinion, doing business in parts of the world where things are honky-dorey is overrated. When the interviewer asked why he preferred "unstructured" markets, he said something which is so obvious that it becomes obscure, "That's where the problems are". That is a very powerful statement. It is entrepreneurship at its core.

If we are to go by the words of Mr. Slim, Africa is the perfect place for the next big business expedition. Most countries on the continent are rife with problems. Be it security issues, failing infrastructure, sub-standard education and the list goes on and on. However, if Slim's words hold any water, are these challenges not opportunities? Perhaps it is time to change our collective perspective. In fact, the sooner, the better 'cause the Chinese and the Indians ain't waiting around for us to get our ducks in a row. They understand that whoever cracks the code of Africa will be smiling to the bank for generations to come. Somehow, everyone gets this but the Africans themselves.

Africa's Trade Frontier

Credit: The BRICA Group

Africans from all across the continent, living abroad or still at home, we need to sit up and begin to carefully examine the issues that plague us. At this point, I applaud the courageous Africans who have taken the plunge despite the challenges that they are up against. Africans from Nigeria to Ghana to Tanzania to Zimbabwe to Kenya who have come with innovative ways to solve the problems of their people despite the "African palaver". The challenge is the opportunity! Let us never forget it. Change your perspective and change your reality.

Africa is indeed the final frontier. We are best equipped to crack the code and change the script. Hopefully, we shall do just that.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.


Aug 26, 2018